Influence of parental involvement in feeding program on nutritional status of children aged below five years in Isiolo District, Isiolo County, Kenya
Health is recognized as a key social sector in the social pillar of Vision 2030. Nutritional status is a key indicator of the health outcomes of children below five years; hence any nutrition deficiency needs to be addressed as an emergency. Nutrition is under the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that is meant to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. Objectives of the study included; to establish the influence of parent’s attitude towards feeding program on nutritional status of children aged below five years in Isiolo district, to assess the influence of culture on nutritional status of children aged below five years in Isiolo district, to explore the influence of parent’s nutritional knowledge on nutritional status of children aged below five years in Isiolo district and to establish the influence of food ration preparation on nutritional status of children aged below five years in Isiolo district. The study focused on obtaining information from parents of malnourished children who have been enrolled in the feeding programs. The research questions and objectives were set in order to aid in gathering information on the independent variable (parental involvement in the feeding program) and its influence on dependent variable (nutritional status of children). The study was carried out in Isiolo district, which is one of the 26 districts in Eastern Province and is bordered by eleven (11) districts namely: Marsabit and Moyale to the North, Wajir and Merti to the East and Garissa to the South East. Tana River, Mwingi, Nyambene and Meru Central to the South, Laikipia to the South West and Samburu to the West. A cross-sectional survey design was used to obtain information on parental involvement and nutritional status of the children aged below five years. The target population for this study was 206 malnourished children in Isiolo district based on data from the Ministry of Health for the month of March 2013; from which a sample size of 127 respondents (parents) were picked based on Krejcie and Morgan’s (1970) table for determining sample size. The respondents were picked purposively from five health facilities namely; Isiolo District Hospital, Waso, Eremet, Catholic Mission and G.K Prison dispensaries. A pilot study to test for reliability and validity of the instrument was carried out in Merti district which has the same characteristics as Isiolo district whereby 23 respondents were interviewed. Structured interviews were used to collect data on demographic, socio-economic, health and health related information as well as knowledge, attitudes and practices. The information obtained was to be used by policy makers and the feeding program partners in decision making. Data was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. This generated quantitative reports through tabulations, percentages, and measure of central tendency. The findings were presented using tables and frequency distributions. In addition, the researcher conducted a linear regression analysis. The studies found out that 37% of the respondents were dissatisfied with the fact that the feeding program was meant to improve the nutritional status of their children. The study also found out that 83.5% of those children enrolled in the feeding programs had been weaned with an unbalanced diet. The study also revealed that 81.9% of the respondents lacked knowledge about a balanced diet. Further the study revealed that 67.7% of the respondents reported to have been sharing the food ration among other household members. The study recommends that the respondents to be educated on importance of the feeding program, quality infant and young child practices and proper food ration preparation procedures. The study also suggests further studies on other strategies to curb malnutrition other than through feeding programs. Finally the study suggests further studies in the area of women empowerment and nutritional status of children aged below five years.